Notes from the 2017 New England Studies Program
By Gail Laird
The Historic New England Organization is the oldest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in our nation. They bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone interested in exploring the authentic New England experience. Historic New England owns and operates thirty-seven historic sites in five states. The region’s rich history is shared through their collections, programs, properties, and family stories that document more than four hundred years of life in New England.
This year as a co-owner of Halliday House and due to my ongoing interest in New England homes, gardens, and furnishings I took part in their 6 day Study Program. I was delighted to experience the history of how New England houses were formed and how people used materials to make these houses into homes.
I hope you enjoy seeing and reading the notes from each day of our tour as much as I did being there.
James L. Garvin, State Architectural Historian (retired), New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources
New England House and Home
Jane C. Nylander, President Emerita, Historic New England
Tour of Moffatt-Ladd House (1763)
Barbara McLean Ward, Ph.D., Director and Curator, Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden and James L. Garvin
Tour of Lady Pepperrell House (1760)
Reception at the home of Jane C. Nylander and Richard C. Nylander
How Colonial New England Became Britain’s Pottery Barn
Cary Carson, Vice President, Research Division (retired), Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Claire Dempsey, Associate Professor of American and New England Studies, Boston University
Boardman House (c. 1687), Saugus, Mass., and Gedney House (1665), Salem, Mass.
Cary Carson and Ben Haavik, Team Leader, Property Care, Historic New England
The Boardman House was erected in 1692 with additions in 1696.
As you can see in the picture, three centuries of walls show in the doorway to the front room. Notice the enormous beams used in construction and the fact that the same beams could be cut away to make room for taller people. The fireplace used for heating and cooking dominates the room.
Next 17th C home tour was the Gedney in Salem, MA. built 1665. The photo at the bottom on the lower right, shows 17th C and later 18th C lathe and plaster boards and the historic progression (right to left) of the manufacture of nails. Since both home tours were designed to show New England Architecture elements the interior had been stripped of plaster walls, etc to show structural elements.
Both lecturers focused on 17th C New England Architecture and methods of building. The main lecturer now retired from Colonial Williamsburg (Vice President of research division), Cary Carson, responded when I asked him how he got into this work, that he started at Winterthur and just couldn’t stop. He guesses he was a born archeologist.